Like a Summer’s Eve

Just got myself in a total tailspin and it’s a good example of what my brain sometimes does to me. I don’t think I’d label this anything beyond Being a Bag of Nerves in much the same vein as my mother. Sometimes I’ll pick up the phone when she calls and she’ll exclaim “oh, thank GOD, there you are” because she’s done exactly what I do too. She’ll randomly note she hasn’t heard from me in perhaps longer than is usually the case. But instead of pinging me a text or calling me at the time she realises it’s been a while, she’ll instead fret like crazy and cook up various scenarios in her mind, including me having died a terrible death in some horrifying accident. This is precisely what I did this morning.

Hubby and I normally text each other several times over the course of the day, and his texts are like clockwork. He texts from the car when he stops at a traffic light somewhere on his way to work. Then he texts again to say he got to work. These are his clockwork, set in stone, routine morning text messages. Today I get the first as usual but not the second. It approaches lunchtime and I check Whatsapp. Nope, he’s not been “seen” since his first on-his-way-to-work text. I send him another I-love-you and follow up with a heart. Then I e-mail him on his work e-mail. Five minutes later and I e-mail again asking for a sign of life. By this stage, I have graphic images whirling through my mind of a crash on the motorway involving 20 cars and an overturned lorry carrying combustible materials. Then he calls back and AS USUAL he has been in back-to-back meetings and my heart rate has rocketed for no good reason whatsoever. I do this if I can’t immediately get hold of Bambino too – even though there is no reason to believe anything sinister has happened, in my mind there are scenarios served up that would terrify Stephen King himself.

Like mother, like daughter. We are worriers.

Alcohol or no alcohol, this is just the way I’m wired and although booze makes anything and everything a thousand times worse, this is something that just happens when I’m sober too. My mother very rarely drinks and when she does it’s a small glass of wine that she doesn’t even finish. And I seem to have in this sense grown up to be just like her. I mean, for God’s sake, of all the things I could have inherited: she is sweet, kind, gentle, loving, wise, strong, clever and every other lovely adjective I can think of. She is also as beautiful as a summer’s eve by Lake Fryken. Mum is an all round much nicer, slimmer and generally better version of me who can cook. In this sea of fantastic traits to inherit, I get her nerves. If I could have at least got her feet – they’re proper lady feet, perfectly shaped and perfectly sized at the end of her long legs and beautiful ankles. I don’t even have ankles – I have bloody CANKLES, the sort of bullshit where your calves just go straight to your feet. And my feet are what Tolkien visualised when he imagined the hobbits. But I got her nerves. Thanks.

Why is this relevant on this blog where I try to focus on sobriety and recovery? Well, it goes back to how I think it’s important to remember that getting sober doesn’t magically turn us into perfect super versions of ourselves. I mean, I couldn’t even begin to list all the amazing ways in which my life has become richer with sobriety. It is 100% true that getting sober has meant that life is fucking magnificent! What sobriety doesn’t change, however, is who I essentially am. I’m still me. It’s just that I’m awake, alert, clear and able to be the best I can be. It doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly challenge Paula Radcliffe in the next London marathon, but it does mean I can go for a jog and find I managed to wobble my way around the park without having to stop and walk. What I’m trying to say is that getting sober is one thing (and don’t get me wrong – it’s a FANTASTIC thing!) but accepting who we are is another and sometimes that’s much harder. Still, it’s a positive thing as whatever flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses I have in my baggage, it’s so much easier to carry it all around when I’m at my best.

Today I’m not going to drink.

12 thoughts on “Like a Summer’s Eve

  1. This is wonderful! If it’s any consolation, I have big feet, wonky toes and none of my mother’s charm or beauty! What happened?! I think you’ve got wonderful charms of your own … quirky, fun, barking mad and beautiful … what more is there! Mwah! Katie xx

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      • Oh, this is making so much sense now! Okay, here’s the inside scoop… What you’re going through right now is normal – know that up front, we ALL go through what you’re experiencing. I, like you, went through this a little early.

        That said, long about one year in, we realize that being sober is more than just not drinking. To cut to the chase, right now is where you come to the conclusion you have to work the program, not just to stay clean and sober, but on your whole life – you have to work the steps at EVERYTHING. This is why they say the first year is a gift.

        Now the real work starts. Congratulations! And welcome to the club! This means you’re doing it right.

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      • Thank you for this. It makes perfect sense and from where I stand, still within this first year of sobriety, I think I can begin to grasp what you’re saying because I can see it bit by bit. I can’t see the whole picture, but pieces here and there emerge all the time. 100% it’s so far mostly been one long stretch of feeling so grateful I’m often tearful simply because I no longer have to drink – overwhelming gratitude to be sober. Realisations around why I drank in the first place and figuring out the whys also creep in. I swear sometimes it’s on a daily basis I have a lightbulb moment when it comes to how – just as you say – the drinking itself wasn’t the biggest part of it. I wonder if it’s also a lot to do with how I now feel everything fully, i.e. never numbed by booze, that it’s therefore entirely natural that these realisations hit. In many ways it’s like learning how to be me, or at least that’s what it feels like. I suddenly cope well or surprise myself by being calm in a situation where I would previously have freaked out massively.

        My ex-sponsor was really dismissive when I told her – oh, roughly when I was just a few weeks in – that I knew in my heart I was done with booze. I get it though and although I still feel such conviction in how I never want to drink again, I don’t actually like to make statements like “never again” and instead try to say “this is how I feel RIGHT NOW” because this little brain of mine isn’t a new one – it’s the same one I had when I drank myself to pieces on a daily basis. I hope I continue to feel this way – I’m forever glancing over my shoulder and I’m TERRIFIED that my brain will suddenly do a u-turn on me because I know it so easily could.

        VERY glad to be in the club. I hate cliches but it’s a journey and I absolutely agree with you because I can see now that stopping drinking was just the start of it.

        Thank you for the comment and insights – much, much appreciated!

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      • My pleasure, Anna. As long as we remain vigilant and look after our daily reprieve, our mind won’t do a u-turn. It might jerk at the wheel now and again, but no u-turns. Enjoy the journey. And I’ll leave you with what my sponsor’s sponsor told me when I got my 9mo. coin; If you keep coming back and working the steps, you’re life will become so good you’ll think it can’t possibly get better… six months later, you’ll realize it did, all on its own. I’ve been there so many times I’ve lost count. It should be in the promises.

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  2. Great reflections here. Regarding the worry wart thing, I started getting called that around about kindergarten. I remained a tense person into my 40s. Lo and behold how I thought I “was” melted when I quit gluten, and I became a mellow, contented person. (Since then things have bobbled and I’ve discovered a few other chemical inputs (besides alcohol) that also affect me.) If you haven’t already, it’s worth considering experimenting with foods known to increase anxiety in many people.

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  3. Oh, and the widespread dismissiveness of “I’m done with this for good” just pisses me off. Royally. There are two kinds of people, and one of the kinds finds freedom and relief in being done with alcohol forever. Either we’re in the minority or the wave of opposition that heads our way when we say it has scared millions of people into remaining silent. (On the now defunct HOME podcast it was fun to listen to Holly and Laura toss this around, as one was one way and one was the other.) To me, why on earth would I want to taunt my self with “oh, not today, but MAYBE TOMORROW.” Every day? It feels like a cruel game (though I’m not going to knock people for whom it’s essential to sobriety, and I’m all for mind games in sobriety in general 🙂 ). I love the once-and-for-all new more peaceful life approach. Rant over 🙂

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